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JRSM Short Rep. 2013 Jan;4(1):2. doi: 10.1258/shorts.2012.012036. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Retrospective analysis of outcome of women with breast or gynaecological cancer in the intensive care unit.

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  • 1Department of Critical Care, King's College London, Guy's & St Thomas' Foundation Trust , Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH , UK.



Advances in oncological care have led to improved short and long-term outcomes of female patients with breast and gynecological cancer but little is known about their prognosis when admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Our aim was to describe the epidemiology of patients with women's cancer in ICU.


Retrospective analysis of data of patients with breast and gynecological cancer in ICU between February 2004 and July 2008.


ICU in a tertiary referral centre in London.


Nineteen critically ill women with breast or gynaecological cancer.


ICU and six-month outcome.


Eleven women had breast cancer and eight patients had gynaecological cancer. Twelve patients were known to have metastatic disease. The main reasons for admission to ICU were sepsis (94.7%), respiratory failure (36.8%) and need for vasoactive support (26.3%). ICU mortality was 31.6%. There was no difference in age and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score on admission to ICU between ICU survivors and non-survivors. During their stay in ICU, non-survivors had significantly more organ failure. Six-month mortality was 68.4%. Four patients had >1 admission to ICU.


ICU outcome of critically ill women with breast or gynaecological cancer was similar to that of other non-cancer patient cohorts but six-month mortality was significantly higher. The decision to admit patients with women's cancer to the ICU should depend on the severity of the acute illness rather than factors related to the underlying malignancy. More research is needed to explore the outcome of patients with women's cancer after discharge from ICU.

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